Part 1: The Work-in-Progress


     Anna and I were second in the queue at the egg station.

     The young chef fished the cracked egg from the pot and threw it into the bin.  A gleaming Trainee tag was pinned on his chef whites.

     “C’mon. Be quick. My ramen is getting cold,” said the man in front of us.

     The trainee blushed, re-filled a small pot with water and put an egg in.

     I shook my head. “Wait! You have to let the water boil. Then you use a spoon to gently put the egg in.”

     The trainee frowned. “It will crack!” 

     “No. Listen. Let the water boil. Put the egg in slowly. Wait for 7 minutes. Take it out and put it in an ice-bath,” I repeated slowly.

     “Show off,” Anna scolded. “You speak as though you are an expert. This is a hotel coffeehouse. Not your grandmother’s kitchen.”

     “I have done this ramen egg thing before,” I said, before lowering my voice and giggling into her ear, “once

     Seven minutes and the egg was fished out.

     The trainee halved the egg and smiled. The white was set perfectly with the sunny shiny yolk wobbling happily inside.

     I laughed nervously.

     “Fluke!” Anna made a face.

     The man standing in front of us turned and thanked me.  I gawked.

     He smiled and walked away.

     I took a deep breath.

     Anna nudged me sharply. “Hello woman, you are holding up the queue.”

     I groaned as my ears grew hot.


     “I didn’t know you knew Martin Lam.” Matilda eyed me with a quirk in her smile.


     She raised her eyebrows. “That guy you were talking to at the egg station.” 

     Matilda Kong was my immediate superior and Senior VP of Investment Research at the Bank.  Today, she wore a white ruffled blouse buttoned all the way up to the neck. Her navy blazer hung lazily on the back of the chair. A rebellious strain of gray stood upright at the top of her carefully coiffured hair, defying the pull of styling gel.

      She leaned forward against the table and at once, the outline of her black lacy bra appeared in sharp focus beneath the sheer fabric.

     “Martin Lam is the Founder of Theodora Capital. One of the largest private equity fund company in Asia. He is Tier One Priority target. We…..The Bank has courted him for ages.  He is a tough nut.  This is your chance to reel him in,” she purred.

      “No.” I answered, hacking through my eggs with way too much aggression.

     Her smile froze. Her eyes flashed angrily.

     “Please do the necessary.” My boss barked. “We have to start downsizing if things don’t improve soon.”

     I kept my head down and focused on the eggs which were messing up the bacon and buttered toast.

     I heard her chair scraped against the floor. Her napkin crumpled in front of me.


….to be continued


Published by

Andrea Boult

Blogs Malaysian short stories at Occasionally I blog in Manglish.

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